Tuesday, July 24, 2007

State of the Nation 2007 (Philippines)

I was feeling a bit under the weather yesterday, Monday, July 23, 2007, due to so much heat, so I opted to stay home and sleep it out. I have mentioned in one of my blogs that I didn't like taking medicines, owing to the belief that I want my body to recover from the illness and reserve the use of artificial medication only when my body truly needs it. So I dozed on and off, only getting up to drink more liquid or go to the toilet. Around 4:00 PM, I turned on the TV, lo and behold, the president was on in a "recycled" red "terno" in front of the joint session of the Senate and Congress. What the....? Oh yes, she was about to deliver another state of the nation address. Her seventh.

As she began her opening spiel, I quickly scanned the channels for other broadcasts only to find the major networks are all glued on her. Why wouldn't they be? She "is" the President after all.

What surprised me was the presence of Congressman Jose de Venecia sitting as Speaker of the House along with Senator Manuel Villar as the Senate President. As it turned out Congressman de Venecia was still hot being voted only a few minutes before the SONA as the Speaker of the House. Interesting. Very interesting. I'm sure we will hear various oinking about this in the next few days.

Setting all pessimism aside, I listened to her speech taking note of the various points she raised about the year that was under her administration and the years about to come. I was impressed by her knowledge of Philippine geography and the development that are underway or have been done. You are right Honorable Senator Chiz Escudero, that was one hell of a geography lesson.

The more I listened, I can't help but feel a slight chill slowly creeping up my spine. Most of what she delivered are a rehash of what she has already delivered a few SONA's back much like the "terno" she was wearing for the occasion. Some are way incredible (but not impossible) one will wonder, where are we going to get the money to finance them?

During her speech she mentioned an airport down south, crediting its construction as financed by an "honorable" of that province. However, she failed to mention it came from the pedestrians taxes. She called it a "pork that gave good cholesterol." Whoa! Even the President acknowledges the use of or lack thereof of the majority of our "honorables pork barrel." Well, I just hope they all follow suit and finance the President's programs for all of our benefit both administration and opposition alike. If they all do this within the next three years, the President's vision will come to fruition, and we will all reap its rewards. After all, isn't the "pork barrel" called the "Countrywide Development Fund?" These funds are given to Senators and Congressmen which are discretionary in nature. Meaning to say, our "honorables" has the option which projects to fund for the "development" of their area of constituency. Each Senator gets P200 million a year (24 X P200,000,000 = P4,800,000,000) while each Congressman gets P70 million (224 X P70,000,000 = P15,680,000,000) or a grand total of P20,480,000,000 in pork alone. "Wala pa yung sweldo nila diyan" P35,000 per month plus P2,000,000 each a month operational expenses of their offices, P760,000 per month foreign travel allowance. Add to that another P1,000,000 per month for committee membership per committee. Goodness, that's a lot of pretty pennies. Just imagine, if all the honorables use this money for it's real purpose, the government will not have to penny pinch other priority projects, raise taxes, or heaven forbid, "borrow" from outside sources. Our soldiers fighting the insurgents in the plains of Luzon or the mountains and jungles of Mindanao will not have to pray that their equipment will not fail them in their time of need. Just think. But unfortunately, most of them just carry their pork and cry "wee wee wee all the way home."

All in all, kudos to the President who says that she is "...always as strong as she can be." Who says that now, based on her vision, ..."she would rather be right than popular." She continuous on saying that, "... Fine, I stand in no ones (political) ambition, but I ask no one to stand in the way of the people's well being." Lofty statements indeed but timely. I just hope that these statements will be heeded by all starting with the President herself and down to the Barangay level. Only then will I truly believe her last statement, "The State of the Nation is Strong."

No comments: